Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Money talks

George F. Will is passionate about the "right" of wealthy people to use their money to reinforce their privileged position in society. Of course, he doesn't put it quite that way. Applauding the five Supreme Court justices who just struck down Arizona's public financing statute, Will instead argues that money is speech and that any restrictions or burdens on such speech are unconstitutional. (Supreme Court precedent indicates that certain restrictions can be justified by an anti-corruption rationale but Will himself does not appear to agree with that, although he concedes it is the current state of the law.)

There's an old saying that money talks. Will and others who share his view take this literally and contend that writing a check is no different than getting up in a public meeting and moving one's vocal chords in such a way that intelligible words are produced and emitted. Writing a check, they believe, is no different than writing an article. It's all "speech." One might almost suspect Will secretly thinks that wealthy people are so inarticulate, so unable to make a case for the maintenance of their privilege by actually speaking, that depriving them of the ability to pour unlimited amounts of money into campaigns (if not through direct contributions to candidates, then through indirect third-party advertising) would sound the tocsin of a "U.S. Spring."

No comments: